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Graham Freudenberg

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Graham Freudenberg
Born(1934-05-12)12 May 1934
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Died26 July 2019(2019-07-26) (aged 85)
Occupation(s)Journalist, author and speechwriter
Years active1952–2010
Known forSpeechwriter to a number of leaders of the Australian Labor Party,
Notable work"It's Time" speech for Gough Whitlam

Norman Graham Freudenberg AM (/ˈfrdənbɜːrɡ/; 12 May 1934 – 26 July 2019) was an Australian journalist, author and political advisor and speechwriter who worked with the Australian Labor Party for over forty years, beginning when he was appointed Arthur Calwell's press secretary in June 1961.

Early life[edit]

Freudenberg was born in Brisbane, Queensland.[1] He was of Jewish origin.[2] His father was a soldier who fought at Gallipoli and, being a patriot, he named his son after a former colonial Governor of Queensland, Field Marshall Sir Henry Norman.[3] Freudenberg was educated at the Church of England Grammar School in Brisbane.[4] He then studied journalism in Melbourne and worked for some years with the Melbourne Sun.[5]


Freudenberg wrote over a thousand speeches for several leaders of the Australian Labor Party at both the federal and state level, representing New South Wales.[6]

Senior Labor Party leaders for whom he prepared speeches included Arthur Calwell, Gough Whitlam, Neville Wran, Bob Hawke, Barrie Unsworth, Bob Carr and Simon Crean.[7] He was "centrally involved" in policy speeches for fourteen federal elections and nine New South Wales State Elections.[8] Freudenberg was principal speechwriter for the leading campaign "It's Time" speech that Labor leader Gough Whitlam presented at the launch of the Labor campaign for the 1972 Australian federal election.[9]


In 1990 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of "services to journalism, to parliament, and to politics".[10]

From 1995–1998 he served on the council of the National Library of Australia.[11]

In June 2005, Freudenberg was inducted as a lifetime member of the Australian Labor Party (New South Wales Branch).[12]

He won the 2009 Walkley Book Award for Churchill and Australia.[13]


He lived in retirement on Bribie Island, Queensland.[8] Freudenberg died on 26 July 2019, aged 85, after a long illness.[14]

Books by Freudenberg[edit]

  • A Certain Grandeur – Gough Whitlam in Politics (1977)[15]
  • Cause for Power – the Centenary History of the NSW Labor Party (1991) ISBN 0-949138-60-6
  • A Figure of Speech (2005) ISBN 1-74031-105-1 (autobiography)
  • Churchill and Australia (2008) ISBN 978-1-4050-3870-6


  1. ^ "Graham Freudenberg, legendary Labor wordsmith". Financial Review. 26 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Our Disappointing Relationship with Gough". Australian Jewish News. Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  3. ^ Gough Whitlam, "The two of us: Gough Whitlam & Graham Freudenberg", The Age, Good Weekend, 5 November 2005
  4. ^ Mason, James (2011). Churchie: The Centenary Register. Brisbane, Australia: The Anglican Church Grammar School. ISBN 978-0-646-55807-3.
  5. ^ Graham Freudenberg, "The two of us: Gough Whitlam & Graham Freudenberg", The Age, Good Weekend, 5 November 2005
  6. ^ "Graham Freudenberg, revered Labor speechwriter, dies aged 85". The Guardian. 26 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Obama offers hope for the art of speechmaking". The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 January 2018.
  8. ^ a b Michelle Grattan, "Weeks of drama, a great duel and a dismissal", The Sunday Age, 6 November 2005, p. 13.
  9. ^ "Graham Freudenberg: speechwriter to Whitlam, Hawke and more". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 July 2019.
  10. ^ Australian Honours List.
  11. ^ National Library of Australia (1999). "Appendix 1. The Council of the National Library of Australia". Annual Report, 1998–1999. Archived from the original on 23 July 2001. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  12. ^ "GRAHAM FREUDENBERG says "Sorry"". John Menadue. 12 November 2017.
  13. ^ "Obituary - Graham Freudenberg - Obituaries Australia". oa.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  14. ^ Macmillan, Jade (26 July 2019). "Revered political speechwriter Graham Freudenberg dies after celebrated career". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  15. ^ "A certain grandeur; Gough Whitlam in politics". ABEBooks. Retrieved 26 July 2019.

External links[edit]